A couple months after NFTs caught the public imagination with the $69 million auction of a JPEG, it has been fascinating to see how brands have scrambled to jump on the NFT bandwagon.
As Cathy Hackl put it, “everyone is talking about NFTs, and few people actually understand them.”
In the luxury world, brands like Gucci and RTFKT created NFTs for virtual sneakers. The very high-end luxury fragrance house Krigler even introduced a virtual perfume with “inspirational artwork corresponding to your exclusive perfume and its olfactory pyramid.”
Other brands made a flurry of similar NFT announcements. Pizza Hut created pixelated pizza, Pringles introduced a limited-edition flavor called CryptoCrisp that only exists as NFT artwork, and Taco Bell launched a collection of NFT GIFs.
At the silly end of the spectrum, Charmin introduced in March “the first-ever NFT art by a toilet paper brand.” They created limited-edition digital art “to give the biggest Charmin fans a one-of-a-kind virtual version of their favorite roll … [that brings] the splendor of toilet paper to life.”
I was struck by this observation in Ad Age that seems to capture the current moment:
“While the greatest current potential for NFT creation and monetization likely lies with brands with established, vast legions of devoted customers—some of which are more akin to fans of the brand than customers—creative integration of NFTs into marketing and promotional efforts is available to smaller and newer brands as well…
“The only limiting factors stopping brands from incorporating and proliferating NFTs are internal creativity and external interest.”
With any shiny new thing that comes along in marketing, we sometimes put tactics before strategy. Before thinking how to create NFTs, it’s important to start with why NFTs would actually matter to our particular brand and our particular customers.
Most brands don’t have “vast legions of devoted customers”. And “internal creativity” and “external interest” — are rarer commodities than we often think.
Most people don’t think about most brands nearly as much as most marketers think they do.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years: